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By Robin Scott

Dalhart Independent School District Superintendent David Foote reflected on the 2008/09 school year this week as the year nears its end.  Many events and activities stood out in his mind as milestones that the district has passed.  Many of those events have made the news in the past year, but some have occurred more behind the scenes, nonetheless important.

The 2008/09 school year began with a massive move and one that on paper seemed impossible.  Foote noted, “We moved, moved everything.  The new high school opened and we moved into it.  The junior high moved into the old high school and the intermediate school moved into the old junior high school.  The Administration moved into the old intermediate school and the elementary school moved into its expanded addition.  We began in the latter part of June, and everything was in place by the start of school in August. The move went so smoothly and everyone pitched in and did their part.  It is almost unbelievable looking back on it.”

The district enjoyed a few firsts in the 2008/09 school year.  Foote stated, “An extremely large amount of students qualified for UIL competitions and success abounded.  Students names and photos showed up in the newspaper regularly this year, recognizing their accomplishments.”  The year ended on a truly high note as DHS Valedictorian Jasmine Bohlender became state champion in accounting just this week and Nicholas Turner took 8th place in social studies.  The girls’ volleyball team also won the district championship.  Foote commented, “What an amazing accomplishment for our small district.”

Another new addition this year was the implementation of the P.E. Program for the intermediate school and the third grade.  The event held in March was a huge success and fostered excitement for exercise and fitness in the children. Vocational education expanded this year allowing students to participate in a wide variety of courses designed to ready them for employment soon after graduating from high school and continued expansion of the program is anticipated.

The district gained a few new valuable people this year and lost a few deeply missed people.  Overall, Foote stated that the district runs very smoothly with exceptionally well-qualified people who have a deep concern for their district.  He noted, “I have worked in many districts, but I have never worked with a district that ran so well, and with a school board that was so dedicated to education.” 

The students of Dalhart have done extremely well.  This year saw National Merit finalists and Academic All-State finalists.  Foote noted, “In the past two weeks, 67 scholarships have been awarded.”  He also noted that DISD students have greater opportunity for academic scholarships than sports scholarships, evidencing the value and emphasis placed on education.  He beamed, “Our kids have done so well!”

Another first, the swine flu that delayed many school sponsored events.  Foote commented, “Even with the swine flu we were still able to pull together and just get through it.  It did change a lot of plans and delayed some things, but everyone has handled it very well.”  The students at DHS have had to adjust to their new parking lot, but the amount of fender benders seems to be subsiding.  They have also adjusted to the increased security with the addition of 40 new security cameras. 

Foote reflected on the graduating class and stated, “Each year a group of seniors graduate, bringing both happiness and sadness.  The accomplishments of this years’ graduating class was impressive and they are going on to a wide variety of new opportunities.  The award ceremonies, banquets and scholarship awards were a testament to their hard work and determination.  Happiness surrounds their success, while a touch of sadness surrounds their departure from DHS. The accomplishment of our children and outstanding support from the entire community on all events this

past school year makes my job here very enjoyable.”

Foote also wanted to comment on a program he is very proud of.  He stated that he’s very proud of Community Connect and how it has developed.  He attributed its success to Sylvia Renick, an army of one, whose tireless dedication to its success is phenomenal.  He noted, “It isn’t our program, but it is a program we support, and it is a huge benefit to our community.  Sylvia Renick has done an excellent job.”

Finally, as he headed out for a meeting, Foote noted, “I’m excited to see what we accomplish this coming year and which students will surprise themselves and achieve things they never thought possible.   Everyone in our community can be proud of our children and young adults.  They’ll be our community leaders in twenty years.” 

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